Crimes, Sins, and Monstrosities
Evil in Literature
  A Bibliography on Evil


Adams, Guy B., and Balfour, Danny L. Unmasking Administrative Evil. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1998. Rev. ed. M. E. Sharpe, 2004.

This book discusses the overlooked relationship between evil and public administration, as well as other fields and professions in public life. The authors argue that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public administration. The common characteristic of administrative evil is that ordinary people within their normal professional and administrative roles can engage in acts of evil without being aware that they are doing anything wrong. Under conditions of moral inversion, people may even view their evil activity as good.

Aivanhov, Omraam Mikhael. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Tavernelle: Prosveta, 1988.

Turns common ideas about the nature and origin of Good and Evil on their head, and give them new interpretations that will make some uncomfortable but that are difficult to simply dismiss.

Aquinas, Thomas, and Davies, Brian, ed. De Malo of Thomas Aquinas. Trans. Richard Regan. New York: Oxford UP, 2003

In De Malo Aquinas examines questions associated with evil: its origin, its nature, its relation to good, and its compatibility with the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent God.

Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Viking, 1965.

While covering the technical aspects of the trial of German Nazi Adolph Eichmann, Arendt also explored the wider themes inherent in the trial, such as the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Régime, and, most controversially, the nature of evil. Her report first appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker in 1963. This edition contains further factual material that became known after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book.

Banham, Gary, and Charlie Blake, eds. Evil Spirits: Nihilism and the Fate of Modernity. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.

This collection examines the uncanny return of angelic and demonic principles in current cultural production and thinking and aims to show that the repression of thought about spiritual entities at the onset of modernity is linked to the appearance of a new form of evil that manifests itself through nihilism.

Barineau, Maurice R. Theodicy of Alfred North Whitehead: A Logical and Ethical Vindication. Washington, DC: UP of America, 1991.

This book is devoted to establishing the criteria by which a theodicy may be judged both logically and ethically adequate, and to a comprehensive analysis of Whitehead's theodicy in terms of those criteria.

Baudrillard, Jean. Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena. Trans. Baddeley J. St John. London: Verso, 1993

The author contemplates post-1960's Western culture. He argues that the sexual revolution led not to liberation but to confused sexual identity; the revolution in art has resulted in indifference; the cybernetic revolution has blurred the distinction between man and machine; and the political revolution has led to pseudo politics.

Baumeister, Roy F. Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty. New York: Henry Holt, 2001.

Integrating evidence from psychology, criminology, sociology, history, anthropology, and other disciplines to provide insight into the roots of cruelty and violence, Baumeister finds examples, both historical and modern, that address compelling human issues: How do "ordinary" people find themselves beating their wives? Murdering rival gang members? Torturing political prisoners? Betraying their colleagues to the secret police? Why do cycles of revenge so often escalate? With an examination of our culture's myths about evil, the book progresses through the "whys" of evil toward a discussion of a paradox in human psychology - our tendency toward guilt, a natural mechanism that suppresses evil, and our inclination toward ambivalence, a feeling that enables evil to flourish.

Becker, Ernest. Structure of Evil. New York: The Free Press, 1976.

Becker challenges the "disinterested" approach of contemporary social science. He seeks to fulfill the need for a science that is humanly significant – a "science of man" that truly works for the benefit of human beings.

Bolich, Gregory G., and Byron R. Care. God in the Docket: The Problem of Good and Evil. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1992.

Breen, Margaret S., ed. Understanding Evil: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003.

The 13 essays in this book cover grappling with evil: justice, responsibility, and war; and blame, murder, and retributivism

---. This Thing of Darkness: Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004.

Written across the disciplines of art history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and theology, the ten essays comprising the collection insist on multidimensional definitions of evil. Taking its title from a moment in Shakespeare's Tempest when Prospero acknowledges his responsibility for Caliban, this collection explores the necessarily ambivalent relationship between humanity and evil. To what extent are a given society's definitions of evil self-serving? Which figures are marginalized in the process of identifying evil? How is humanity itself implicated in the production of evil? Is evil itself something fundamentally human?

Breton, Denise. This Lie Called Evil. Seattle: Kappeler Institute, 1983.

Buber, Martin. Good and Evil: Two Interpretations. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950.

A treatment of the religious and social dimensions of the human personality, and of man's two-fold encounter with reality in the realms of the I-It and the I-Thou.

Canterbury, Anselm of. Truth, Freedom, and Evil: Three Philosophical Dialogues. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

Contains "Concerning Truth," "On Freedom of Choice," and "The Fall of Satan."

Cenkner,William, ed. Evil and the Response of World Religions. Bournemouth: Paragon, 1997.

Clough, Paul and Jon P. Mitchell. Powers of Good and Evil: Social Transformation and Popular Belief. New York: Berghahn, 2001.

A key theme in the anthropology of beliefs is the relationship between socio-economic change and changes in the belief system. It has been widely argued that rapid economic change, particularly the introduction of capitalism, leads to an increase in beliefs in, and representations of, evil and the devil. These beliefs, it is argued, constitute forms of resistance to, or rejection of, "modernity." This volume builds on these arguments, suggesting that, rather than indigenous resistances to capitalism, such representations signal a profound moral ambivalence towards the socio-economic process inherent in capitalist economy. Using a range of examples, from Surinamese zombies to American horror films, it demonstrates the extent to which evil imagery is linked to a fear of excess, particularly in situations where people find themselves, or perceive themselves, to be peripheral to the centers of political, economic, and cultural power.

Connellan, Colm. Why Does Evil Exist? A Philosophical Study of the Contemporary Presentation of the Question. Pompano Beach: Exposition-Phoenix Press, 1974.

Copjec, Joan. Radical Evil. New York: Verso, 1996.

This book marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Kant's Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, where he first proposed the concept of radical evil – an evil at the very heart of the ethical problematic. The contributors to this volume were asked to consider radical evil in its philosophical, political, and cultural dimensions. It includes discussions of the Holocaust, the placement of homosexuals in concentration camps, the creation of the Machiavellian in politics and literature – an exploration of the radical nature of modern evil.

Corrigan, Kevin. Plotinus's Theory of Matter-Evil and the Question of Substance: Plato, Aristotle and Alexander Aphrodisias. Dudley: Peeters, 1995.


Updated January 19, 2009

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